The world of business is ever-changing, and the University of New Mexico Entrepreneurs is taking big strides this year to help students keep up.
UNME is an interdisciplinary entrepreneur group that is teaming up with high-profile speakers to start off it’s second year.
“We’re going to learn from each other, and we’re going to see what happens,” said Michael Sanchez, president of UNME and a senior business major at UNM. “I think some good things are going to happen.”
Last year, the club rechartered as the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization — rebranding themselves as UNME over the past summer.
“The mission is continuous learning and growth,” Sanchez said. “We want to support entrepreneurs to get their initiative started through networking and learning.”
The club is collaborating with the Innovation Academy to host speakers and run bootcamps.
Drew Tulchin, chief financial officer for Meow Wolf, and Gary Oppedahl, director of economic development for the City of Albuquerque, are scheduled to speak in Oct. at what UNME calls “fireside chats.”
Fireside chats give students a unique chance to network with successful entrepreneurs, Sanchez said.
“They’re gonna tell us about their successes, their failures, their experience with entrepreneurship,” he said. “It’s a much more intimate setting as opposed to the boot camp, which will be the next day.”
Boot camps are hands-on workshops that give speakers the chance to lead students through business exercises.
Tulchin will be teaching students about the feasibility of their startup ideas and how to determine that in preparation for the business plan competition.
“It’s great, because he’s an expert, and he’s super successful,” Sanchez said.
The UNM Business Plan Competition gives students the opportunity to develop a business plan over a seven-month period to ultimately compete with others for prizes in the spring and start their venture.
Sanchez says members of UNME are encouraged to participate in the competition.
“We are all about learning together, building skills, learning from successful entrepreneurs and collaborating,” he said.
UNME values their connections to the business “ecosystem” that is prevalent in Albuquerque.
“They like to call it the ‘entrepreneur ecosystem,’” Sanchez said. “We’re getting involved with this ecosystem and bringing these resources to our members.”
UNME collaborates with start-up incubators such as ABQid and coworking spaces such as FreeRange Spaces and FatPipe ABQ.
Members are also connected with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
“They’re a fantastic chamber of commerce, a resource and community for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Sanchez said. “They have meetings every month that we go to.”
“There’s a lot going on, and we are connecting to a lot of it,” he said.
UNME has a lot of value to offer to students’ careers he said.
“It’s awesome, because we have people from all over campus, different perspectives, different skill sets, and we are all coming together here for this club,” he said.
The club includes students from education, architecture and engineering departments. UNME is also reaching out to Central New Mexico Community College students who are interested.
“We’re looking for somebody who grows, takes opportunities and risks and is ambitious,” he said. “That’s what brings us all together.”
Through his time with UNME, Sanchez said he has been exposed to the various opportunities and support Albuquerque possesses for future entrepreneurs.
“There’s people you’ve never met before who are going to help you succeed, and it’s fantastic,” he said.
UNME is holding its first meeting Friday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. at FreeRange Spaces. Officer elections will be the following Monday, Sept. 18 in the Student Union Building.
“(At the) Pizza and Welcome, we’re just going to introduce our club and everybody in our club,” he said. “It’s a great way to start getting involved.”
Madison Spratto is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.